Arts & Culture » Visual Art

Fourth Street fare

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Fourth Street
(Intersection of Fourth and Holden streets)

Hands down, Fourth Street is one of the coolest places to live in Detroit. An eclectic mix of young and old, hipster and hippie, this tightly knit little community is best known for its annual Positively Fourth Street Fair every July, a one-day block party featuring heaps of local bands and eccentric vendors. But year-round, Fourth Street is pulsing with art, both static and living.

A main attraction of the fair is the car sculpture that sits in the neighborhood's cozy little park. Details and dates are sketchy (it's a Fourth Street thing) but longtime resident and artist Maurice Greenia says it was built in the '70s by a group of CCS art students for a school project. Greenia says the car languished in storage for years before someone from the block acquired it and brought it down to Fourth Street, about five years ago, give or take. Featuring a gaping mouth pronged by steely, jagged teeth, the car "breathes fire" each year during the fair when the mouth is filled with a bonfire.

"It used to have a lot more teeth, but they blew some things up in there a few times and it lost most of its teeth," says Greenia.

Next to the car is a giant fun-house mirror, and the next street over there's a giant chessboard, but Greenia says the pieces are currently being repaired. There's also a telephone pole spiked with various found objects, and all manner of porch artwork, including Greenia's chalk drawings that he hasn't touched up since he moved in 13 years ago. But perhaps the most breathtaking piece of artwork is one of nature's creations — the glorious peacock that resides on one resident's porch. Only on Fourth Street.

See the fire-breathing car at this year's Fourth Street Fair, on Saturday, July 16.

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